Updates after a while

Hey there!

Sorry that I haven’t been writing for a while after the post about establishing a Formula Student team. I worked for the whole summer and then I moved to the Netherlands to do my exchange studies at TU Delft, like I mentioned earlier when I got accepted.

So a lot has happened and I’ll try to recap now and start writing this once again. I’m planning to also write in more detail about what were my study plans at TU Delft and how it has gone so far. I’ll continue the learning portfolio part by reflecting a bit how each of my courses have been, what I have learnt and connect those to my earlier courses at Aalto. In case my learning portfolio isn’t familiar the first part can be found here and the most recent part from here.

Figure 1: Summer views.

So at the beginning of summer my work at SSF ended and then I worked at the university as a research assistant for the last summer at the marine technology research group. I was assigned to write a Matlab code to do analytical calculations of how ship bottoms deform on grounding accidents. The work should have been pretty straightforward but came out that scientific articles aren’t always written so that you could recreate them exactly. So it worked like the equations presented, but the equations presented didn’t really coincide with the results given in the same paper. Right when my contract was ending I found one additional paper that had the equations we were looking for. So I found the solution but didn’t have time to implement it. It was really refreshing working at the university after being almost 2.5 years working in the industry as a software engineering trainee in a space technology project and later as a systems engineer in defense technology. Both jobs interesting in their own ways and I really enjoyed my time at both jobs.

Figure 2: Summer day at the Suomenlinna Sea Fort.

Otherwise I took the most out of the summer I could, since it was the last chance to spend time with my girlfriend, friends and family before leaving to the Netherlands in the autumn. So we did the once in a year visit to my godparents’ summer cottage, finally spent the day wandering around Suomenlinna and just enjoyed life. For the past 4.5 years it hasn’t always been so easy because of my studies and both working, so last summer was really a huge pause.

Figure 3: The new hoodies and caps of our Formula Student team.

During the summer I also worked for the Formula Student team we established and we got our first apparel. The logo looks really neat on the dark hoodie. The project itself is doing really well even though I’m in a different country and still the chairman of the association. We got really good industry partners to make the car possible and we’re currently moving into production. There’s few hiccups like all projects have and the schedule is a bit behind, but we should make it on time. It’s the first year so everything can’t go so smoothly. But we have lots of help from the companies in terms of components, materials and knowledge.

Figure 4: One of the first pictures I took after arriving to Delft.

Leaving to Delft was really a different experience. Moving to a foreign country, which language you don’t know, all by yourself not knowing anyone there. Well at least Dutch people speak really good English, but otherwise everything else is true. Basically leaving all the people you’ve spent most of your life with and having to now completely be on your on, was really though for the first few days with nothing much to do. Good thing in modern times is the capability to make video calls and not have extra costs of normal calls. That helps a lot. I had rented the apartment from DUWO through the TU Delft housing service and well, it was nice and simple to get the apartment, but the price doesn’t really match for the quality. For 8 people sharing one kitchen the current rent is rather high and yes, I have 7 roommates. Also adjusting to that is a huge change from living in your own apartment. Introduction Programme that Delft had was rather nice to have the possibility to meet new people from different study programmes and explore the city together. Only thing I didn’t really like was the unnecessary project at the end, which I gladly would have skipped. It didn’t have any sense, too broad topics and too little time for anything reasonable. The late summer weather was rather nice, but then began the eternal autumn and now I’m waiting for when the spring begins.

Figure 5: Initial plan for my degree after exchange studies.

And onto the studies themselves. I thought I had a clear plan on my exchange courses and how my degree would look like after the year here. Well, things don’t always go like you planned, especially when the university you go to isn’t that good on education itself. After 6 months here I now have 3 ECTS out of the 45 I need to make, but hopefully after this 2nd quarter I should have around 26 and get the 45 full after the third one. Then the fourth is just making sure I have enough and look into interesting courses, but not take too much pressure about them.

Figure 6: Entry hall of the Aerospace Engineering building and the plane on the roof.

So what has been the problem? Well mainly the pedagogy of the Aerospace Engineering department. While Delft Aerospace has been ranked as “good” it doesn’t really show in the education. Professor can start the course by saying: “I’m not here to teach you, we’re here to discuss.” and no one thinks there’s a problem in what the professor is saying. Sure in master’s there is a difference compared to bachelor’s but the professor is still in charge of education and should not outsource the learning to the students themselves, especially with new subjects. Also generally the level of feedback has been really low, like the class of “this is wrong” and nothing else. Okay it’s wrong, I know it, I wouldn’t have submitted it wrong if I knew what was the problem, so would you like to open that a bit. What was actually wrong and what could have been done better instead of just bluntly saying this is wrong. Or then one extreme is having a good lecturer, but the exam being the test on your skills of memorizing 600 lecture slides and applying the abstract equations without any examples how to do so. Generally the credits gained from the courses should be multiplied by at least 2 or 3 to represent the real amount of work needed to put in. But gladly there has been the opposite extremes of superbly good professors and lecturers with high quality feedback and the skill to push you to do even better than before. That is a skill to admire and people that is a pleasure to listen to. But so far my plans haven’t exactly held and there has been a decent amount of changes. Well that’s life, partially I’ve found something more interesting and partially the courses have forced me to do something else.

 

Figure 7: Exploring The Hague.

So what else? Well so far I haven’t had time or energy to explore the country that much, but when my girlfriend has been here now few times we have been to Rotterdam and the Hague. Both are nice cities in their own way and I believe I’d like to live one of them more than in Delft. As a city Rotterdam feels to work a bit more nicer and places are easy to find, the Hague looks a lot nicer, but things are scattered more around. Amsterdam and other nice cities are yet to be experienced. Right now we’re planning inter rail trip through Europe when my studies end here in the Netherlands. We would keep around 2.5 weeks of holidays in July and take the train through France, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark and Sweden to finally arrive back home. Lets see how this works out. Oh and last Christmas we spent at the Canary Islands, which was rather nice, but not our Christmas tradition. This has been truly a year of travelling and continues to be so.

So in a nutshell that’s what has happened. I’ll try to write continuation posts in more details about each topic I just wrote about. It’s been terribly busy and continues to be so, but this is also a nice way to collect my thoughts and wonder what has happened and what’s to come.

Thanks for reading this post. Remember to comment, check the youtube channel occasionally and please share this to your friends.

Pete

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